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The quintessential American family story, Little Women captured readers' hearts right from the start. A bestseller from the time it was originally published in 1868, it is the story of the four March sisters: Meg, Beth, Jo, and Amy. Louisa May Alcott recreates her own family's dramatic and sometimes comic experiences in this American novel, inspiration for numerous dramatic and film versions.
Published: Aladdin on Feb 7, 2012
ISBN: 9781442457744
List price: $8.99
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This is an edited and abridged version of the original. Little Women is of course Louisa May Alcott's story of four sisters who each live according to their personalities. Meg wants to be the ideal, typical housewife, Jo has dreams of being a famous author, Beth wants only to help others, and Amy is a little vain and very artistic. All of them love one another despite their feuds. This version especially focuses on Jo and how she grows.read more
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I originally received this book as a young teen, and I sat up in bed, reading by lamplight, long after I should have been asleep each night. A beatifully told story of four nearly-grwon sisters and their mother, this is a must read for any girl (or grown woman for that matter!). I have long since lost my original copy, but I loved it so much it has been replaced by no less than three more copies. Having no sisters of my own, and not living with my mother, I had little in common with the family in the story. Perhaps that was what fascinated me. In any case, it's a touching story about four very different sisters, family life that isn't always easy, and in the end romance that is entirely appropriate for young readers. Louisa May Alcott captured a normal American family in such a way that the book is much loved a century later.read more
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From the Inside Flap: Little Women is an adored classic of four sisters and their enduring devotion to and protection of one another. Alcott drew from her own personality to create a unique protagonist: Jo, willful, headstrong, and undoubtedly the backbone of the March family, is a heroine unlike any seen before. Follow the sisters from innocent adolescence to sage adulthood, with all the joy and sorrow of life in between, and fall in love with them and this endearing story.read more
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A favorite from childhood!read more
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We agreed to stop reading this one as it was difficult to finish. This book was the only one we all agreed to stop reading!read more
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I have no idea how many times I have read this book! I think the last time I read it Angela was in high school so that would have been early 80s. I love the characters, the descriptions, and the morality of the novel. I may go back and re-read them all. Reading this novel is a good change for me after reading so many serial murder novels!read more
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Reading through Little Women I kept wishing I'd read it as a girl. Now that I'm grown I found myself identifying with different aspects of the girls' natures. I'm definitely a Jo, and I nearly wept when Teddy married Amy because... I want a Teddy, not a Professor...

Personal preferences aside, the book completely blessed me and it also gave me a lot to think about.read more
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How could this not be a favorite? One of my favorites growing up I always liked Beth and Jo but at the time was disappointed on the matches made. Now I can take a more tolerant view.read more
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This classic story of one year in the lives of the March sisters of New England during the American Civil War justly holds its place of honour in American literary tradition. This is really a Young Adult novel and I’m sure that each young or older!) reader identifies with one of the sisters: the eldest, Meg who is maturing into a young women preparing for marriage; Jo, the impetuous tomboy & alter ego of the author; home-loving and painfully shy Beth; and the creative & somewhat spoiled baby, Amy; and events in the book involve all sisters in turn. Each chapter of Little Women contains a gentle moral, espousing a value such as honesty, industry or thriftiness with time and money.I found this much easier to read than other 19th century novels, perhaps because it was targeting a young audience. My edition had several charming illustrated plates by Jessie Wilcox smith.Read this if: you’d like to have a glimpse of the home-front during the American Civil War; you love a story that teaches old-fashioned morals; or you enjoy gentle old-fashioned adventures. 5 starsSuggested reading companion to Little Women: March by Geraldine Brooks which follows the activities of the girls’ father, Mr. March during his enlistment. Note: March is not a YA novel.read more
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A true classic, truly timeless, Little Women is a must have for any bookshelf. This story of a family of young women, dealing with the very real traumas of the Civil War is charming in that it gives pictures into the lives of the daughters, the things that concern them, please them, the trials they must face and the choices they are forced to make. The main character is endearing as are her three sisters and by the end I found myself rooting for the ultimate well-being of everyone involved, not simply the main character. I can't imagine not having this book around.read more
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What can I say that hasn't been said so many times before? Little Women was on my list of books that I was ashamed to say I hadn't read, and knowing what a nice story it is now, I'm upset to have missed out on it for so long. Not only is writing and story itself pleasant and well-done, the feeling it leaves the reader with is just wonderful. For someone who didn't grow up with a close-knit family, Little Women is sweet and heart-warming and something that almost fills the gap left by a slightly dysfunctional family of my own. The March family and their lives are quaint and unobtrusive, but their little world is one which the reader wishes to jump through the pages and join. A lovely, lovely story.read more
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One of my mother's favorite books, and consequently, one of mine. This is yet another of my favorite books, and when I had the great luck to tour Orchard House, Louisa's home in which she wrote and centered her novel around, in 2003, I became even more absorbed. I also love the fact that even though she wrote this novel, as well as several children's/Christmas stories, more of her work is as dark and foreboding as Jo's never-ending scribbles.read more
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Somehow, this book did not work for me - the March daughters were too readily faulty and the parallel with Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' was just too...righteous. The fact that Jo and Laurie are not marrying as I thought they should was way too much; the absent father comes back to check on his daughters, only to comment that they are becoming 'perfect' women (his comments about their change of character was, in my opinion, a true reflection of the concerns of the time - the denial of the 'self' to become society's ideal woman in the civil war: charitable, selfless, sacrificing all for the greater good in the absence of men, etc...). While I may have enjoyed just reading it, I felt unease at the background ideology, I am sorry to say!read more
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This is my favorite book. Good morality as the basis for strong character is at the heart of the lessons throughout the book. However, I am disappointed in the sequel (part two of the book). It seems that Ms. Alcott wrote part two to simply please her audience. Although the moral character of the girls remains strong, there is less attention paid to the everyday details of their lives, which was the charm of part one. The goal of part two, it seems, is simply to get the girls off and married, rather than focusing on the small defining moments of personal growth for each character. In spite of this, I have never read any other book (other than the Bible) that has touched my heart so deeply and has ministered so well to my own struggles with personal growth and positive character development. I only wish I had read this book sooner. The book's wisdom, so neatly packaged but yet so very conspicuous, blesses the reader in an easy, non-judgemental way. It causes the reader to reflect on her own life and to make positive changes in attitude and thought to such a degree that self-help books can only look on with envy. If you have a teenage or young adult daughter, encourage her to read this book. She will be greatly blessed for it, not only by the charming story, but quite possibly by the changes in her heart and mind that result from the good influence of Alcott's Little Women.read more
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I enjoyed the book. The Jo character seems to be held up as the model daughter. It makes me think Alcott put some of herself into Jo.read more
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one of my favorites from childhoodread more
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This is more of a female book because it is based on girls and has girl problems. It is a heartwarming book.read more
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This book is a wonderful classic and a book every child should read by the time they're thirteen. This is also a good book to read out loud. Many people have been posting that they thought the book was to preachy but I love those parts because it makes the book so comfortable.read more
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The four March sisters—warm and fashionable Meg, literary and tomboyish Jo, frail and angelic Beth, and lovely but vain Amy—live in Civil War New England. With their father off to war, they grow and learn to be better women under the ever-patient guide of their mother’s hand. Lessons in humility, romance, friendship, loss, and joy occur to the March sisters in a variety of scenarios which have been pleasingly narrated for us by the character-writer Alcott. Never dull, and full of important morals and fun, it is no wonder that LITTLE WOMEN remains a beloved classic over a century after it was first published.read more
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A classic story, along the lines of "The Little House" series. Bringing up four girls with her husband in the war, money tight, Marmee doles out life wisdom and skills. The daughters learn togetherness, love, happiness and sadness. Life is what you make of it. Good Read.read more
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I found that this novel was overly moralistic and sickly sweet for my tastes but well written nevertheless. I can see the attraction for its target audience. Just not for me.read more
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I have mixed feelings about this one. I will say that I liked the book better than the movie I saw, because so many more details are given and the relationships feel more natural and realistic but I found the “moral and religious overtones” to be a bit much at times and the descriptions to sometimes go on a bit longer than they needed to (a la Nathaniel Hawthorne). As far as classics go, I much preferred Anne of Green Gables which though also descriptive, managed to do the whole moral lesson thing much better, as in, not beating you over the head with it. I think the heart of this story is excellent, which is why the movies are so good I think, but sometimes reading it felt like a chore.read more
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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is about four girls, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and other assorted characters. It takes place in Massachusetts during and after the Civil War. During the first part of the book, the girls' father is a chaplain in the Civil War, and it is trying for the girls. The rest of the book is basically about the girls courting and various other small adventures. As the book progresses, the girls learn lessons about life. While this book was superbly written, I prefer books where characters actually do adventurous deeds (usually involving magic) , so I only gave the book four stars because of my preferences.read more
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It is tough to get into it at first, because they just seem too perfect, but the book really picks up if you just keep going. I really enjoyed it, and am very glad I finally read it. This one will be staying on my bookshelf and will be read many more times!read more
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Great book with wonderful storytelling. Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy are vibrant, believable characters that are hard to forget.read more
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An endearing and heart-warming tale about growing up. A true classic that transcends time.read more
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I’m not going to call this a review because it’s not. If you want to read more about the book, google it. I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about what I thought of it on this go around instead. When I picked this up, I was in a slight reading slump and thought a beloved book from my childhood that I’ve always considered a comfort read would pull me out of it. By page 40, I was so annoyed with everyone --- Meg for bemoaning being poor, Jo for her hyper personality, Beth for all her goodness could only talk about being even better, Amy took me to the heights of annoyance over wanting to be so prim, proper and rich, and even dear Marmee started to rankle. They were too perfect. They were too moral. Everything was a lesson. Then something changed. It was that dear old scene where Beth befriends Mr. Laurence and when the little piano arrives, she boldly walks next door to thank him properly for the joy he’s brought her. The two become a pair content in a friendship that comes of music and Beth’s simple nature. My annoyances dropped away and once more I felt at home. It took me a minute though and even when I thought about dropping it, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to leave the story on a bad note. Sometimes when re-reading a story that is so loved, there creeps in the need to change it or to imagine it with different endings. I’ve heard others talk about wanting Jo and Laurie to get together and while I can see that as a possible ending, and at one point in my life I felt it should have been that way, I found this time that I wanted Jo and the Professor to be together instead. Yes, Jo and Laurie fit together perfectly but they are so alike that it wouldn’t feel satisfying to me now. Somehow just like Marmee said! Jo finds someone who appreciates her outbursts and willingness to learn by throwing herself so fully into things that she forgets about the world around her and there’s something lovely in that simple ending for her. She finds not only love but a partner. While I still found Jo to be my favorite, Meg and Amy left me wanting this time. They were still, I don’t know how to put this, but still too preoccupied with the thoughts of others. Amy does redeem herself but she felt small and slightly inconsequential. Her romance with Laurie isn’t so much of a romance as a settling for me and maybe that’s why years ago I felt cheated by it and wanted Laurie to be with Jo. Meg has a way of wrapping herself up so tightly in small things that she forgets there are others in her life, and when this happens in her marriage, I didn’t feel for her. It was a normal reaction and the lesson from Marmee felt more like preaching and I sort of glossed over it. Marriage is tough and Meg needed to find that out. Yes, Marmee let her but it didn’t stop any discussion of the lesson learned. Then there is the moral; make that morals. There’s a lesson to be learned by one and all every day, rich or poor. I felt preached to in the end by people better than me and that frustrated me. Not because I think I’m a bad person, I think the contrary actually, but this time it weighed heavily. It was probably my mood considering how busy life has been during the last few weeks but I was looking for comfort and I got a sermon. I don’t remember it being this way on other reads but somewhere along the way I saw it all differently. And I’m grateful for that. I appreciate being able to take a book I’ve read and loved, re-examine it and look at it from a new perspective. In some ways it became a more satisfying read this time even if I didn’t enjoy it as much. I still adore this story and nothing in the world will change that but it’s interesting to see how my current life and experiences changes my reading and memories.read more
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I now realized what I missed by not reading this as a girl. I loved this. Julia will adore this book and read it from cover to cover many times over he life - it is right up her alley.read more
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I believe I first read this as a child, but it's so much part of the American cultural heritage, it's one of those books I believed I might only thought I had read before. Who doesn't know of the the March sisters whom we first meet on Christmas Eve when they range in age from twelve to sixteen? There's the beautiful eldest daughter Meg, the tomboyish bookworm Jo, sweet Beth, and the prim and pampered Amy. Reading this novel as an adult, I found this a pleasure. I've read two main complaints in reviews. First, that the novel is unbearably moralistic and religious in tone. I didn't feel that way--and believe me I'd be sensitive to that--I'm not a believer. Yes, the March family are Christians, and take their beliefs seriously. This is a minister's household, after all. Paul Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is the girls' Christmas gift and the structure and metaphor for their growth in the first part covering a year during the American Civil War, and is alluded to throughout. But, as Jo herself puts it, I don't mind a story with a moral that makes me think, as long as it's "real, and not too preachy." I don't think it is, because the story throughout is leavened by such warmth and humor I can't find any priggishness in it. There are some things that strike me as old-fashioned, particularly when I read the story of the newly married Meg in "Domestic Experiences" or the urging of temperance, but most of the values taught, the growth in the girls, isn't just Christian but universal and timeless. Beth learns to go after what she wants and to overcome shyness. Amy that rules are made for her too and she's not everyone's spoiled pet. Jo learns it's important to reign in her temper. And Meg not to put so much store on being a fashion plate. *SPOILERS AHEAD!*The other objection I often saw was to Jo's romance with Professor Frederick Bhaer in the second part. Maybe it's just I don't think that kind of age difference is important, but I like Frederick and their relationship. He's her intellectual equal; he understands Jo, and he stretches her and accepts her in ways I doubt Laurie ever would have. Some also say how they don't care in general for how the girls are paired off and give up their dreams. Nineteenth century "domestic novel" this might be--their beloved mother herself says she'd rather see her daughters forever remain unwed than enter an unhappy marriage and when Laurie is asked if he or his wife "rules" he said they "take turns." I think real partnerships are what's stressed here, and it's not so much that dreams are given up but that they changed.I'd much rather have a young woman imbibe the values in this book than those of Meyer's vapid Twilight. All the girls here have talents, ambitions and concerns beyond attaching herself to some boy. I also loved and identified with Jo's struggles to become a writer. I had to smile at her story of how she unwisely followed the advice of all trying to please everyone and sent off her novel after it wound up "liked a picked robin" after her editing. Nor does she give up that dream for domesticality when she marries. She says in the end she "may write a good book yet...it will be all the better for such experience." *SPOILERS END*I found this a charming, fun story full of memorable scenes and lines whose appeal still endures and to me at least, doesn't seem too dated or overly sentimental.Oh, those "sensationalist" stories Jo abjures. Louisa May Alcott wrote them. I have a good friend who swears they're better than Little Women as far as she's concerned.read more
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When I was growing up, my sisters and I used to discuss which characters from Little Women we were most like. The book was a real comfort read -- I first read it when I was probably around ten years old, my younger sisters read it after me, and each of us has read it several times since. It is such a wonderful book -- a celebration of sisters, family, and staying close through hard times and the pains of growing up. The fact that my sisters shared an appreciation of the book and its characters made it even more meaningful.read more
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This is an edited and abridged version of the original. Little Women is of course Louisa May Alcott's story of four sisters who each live according to their personalities. Meg wants to be the ideal, typical housewife, Jo has dreams of being a famous author, Beth wants only to help others, and Amy is a little vain and very artistic. All of them love one another despite their feuds. This version especially focuses on Jo and how she grows.
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I originally received this book as a young teen, and I sat up in bed, reading by lamplight, long after I should have been asleep each night. A beatifully told story of four nearly-grwon sisters and their mother, this is a must read for any girl (or grown woman for that matter!). I have long since lost my original copy, but I loved it so much it has been replaced by no less than three more copies. Having no sisters of my own, and not living with my mother, I had little in common with the family in the story. Perhaps that was what fascinated me. In any case, it's a touching story about four very different sisters, family life that isn't always easy, and in the end romance that is entirely appropriate for young readers. Louisa May Alcott captured a normal American family in such a way that the book is much loved a century later.
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From the Inside Flap: Little Women is an adored classic of four sisters and their enduring devotion to and protection of one another. Alcott drew from her own personality to create a unique protagonist: Jo, willful, headstrong, and undoubtedly the backbone of the March family, is a heroine unlike any seen before. Follow the sisters from innocent adolescence to sage adulthood, with all the joy and sorrow of life in between, and fall in love with them and this endearing story.
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A favorite from childhood!
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We agreed to stop reading this one as it was difficult to finish. This book was the only one we all agreed to stop reading!
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I have no idea how many times I have read this book! I think the last time I read it Angela was in high school so that would have been early 80s. I love the characters, the descriptions, and the morality of the novel. I may go back and re-read them all. Reading this novel is a good change for me after reading so many serial murder novels!
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Reading through Little Women I kept wishing I'd read it as a girl. Now that I'm grown I found myself identifying with different aspects of the girls' natures. I'm definitely a Jo, and I nearly wept when Teddy married Amy because... I want a Teddy, not a Professor...

Personal preferences aside, the book completely blessed me and it also gave me a lot to think about.
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How could this not be a favorite? One of my favorites growing up I always liked Beth and Jo but at the time was disappointed on the matches made. Now I can take a more tolerant view.
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This classic story of one year in the lives of the March sisters of New England during the American Civil War justly holds its place of honour in American literary tradition. This is really a Young Adult novel and I’m sure that each young or older!) reader identifies with one of the sisters: the eldest, Meg who is maturing into a young women preparing for marriage; Jo, the impetuous tomboy & alter ego of the author; home-loving and painfully shy Beth; and the creative & somewhat spoiled baby, Amy; and events in the book involve all sisters in turn. Each chapter of Little Women contains a gentle moral, espousing a value such as honesty, industry or thriftiness with time and money.I found this much easier to read than other 19th century novels, perhaps because it was targeting a young audience. My edition had several charming illustrated plates by Jessie Wilcox smith.Read this if: you’d like to have a glimpse of the home-front during the American Civil War; you love a story that teaches old-fashioned morals; or you enjoy gentle old-fashioned adventures. 5 starsSuggested reading companion to Little Women: March by Geraldine Brooks which follows the activities of the girls’ father, Mr. March during his enlistment. Note: March is not a YA novel.
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A true classic, truly timeless, Little Women is a must have for any bookshelf. This story of a family of young women, dealing with the very real traumas of the Civil War is charming in that it gives pictures into the lives of the daughters, the things that concern them, please them, the trials they must face and the choices they are forced to make. The main character is endearing as are her three sisters and by the end I found myself rooting for the ultimate well-being of everyone involved, not simply the main character. I can't imagine not having this book around.
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What can I say that hasn't been said so many times before? Little Women was on my list of books that I was ashamed to say I hadn't read, and knowing what a nice story it is now, I'm upset to have missed out on it for so long. Not only is writing and story itself pleasant and well-done, the feeling it leaves the reader with is just wonderful. For someone who didn't grow up with a close-knit family, Little Women is sweet and heart-warming and something that almost fills the gap left by a slightly dysfunctional family of my own. The March family and their lives are quaint and unobtrusive, but their little world is one which the reader wishes to jump through the pages and join. A lovely, lovely story.
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One of my mother's favorite books, and consequently, one of mine. This is yet another of my favorite books, and when I had the great luck to tour Orchard House, Louisa's home in which she wrote and centered her novel around, in 2003, I became even more absorbed. I also love the fact that even though she wrote this novel, as well as several children's/Christmas stories, more of her work is as dark and foreboding as Jo's never-ending scribbles.
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Somehow, this book did not work for me - the March daughters were too readily faulty and the parallel with Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' was just too...righteous. The fact that Jo and Laurie are not marrying as I thought they should was way too much; the absent father comes back to check on his daughters, only to comment that they are becoming 'perfect' women (his comments about their change of character was, in my opinion, a true reflection of the concerns of the time - the denial of the 'self' to become society's ideal woman in the civil war: charitable, selfless, sacrificing all for the greater good in the absence of men, etc...). While I may have enjoyed just reading it, I felt unease at the background ideology, I am sorry to say!
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This is my favorite book. Good morality as the basis for strong character is at the heart of the lessons throughout the book. However, I am disappointed in the sequel (part two of the book). It seems that Ms. Alcott wrote part two to simply please her audience. Although the moral character of the girls remains strong, there is less attention paid to the everyday details of their lives, which was the charm of part one. The goal of part two, it seems, is simply to get the girls off and married, rather than focusing on the small defining moments of personal growth for each character. In spite of this, I have never read any other book (other than the Bible) that has touched my heart so deeply and has ministered so well to my own struggles with personal growth and positive character development. I only wish I had read this book sooner. The book's wisdom, so neatly packaged but yet so very conspicuous, blesses the reader in an easy, non-judgemental way. It causes the reader to reflect on her own life and to make positive changes in attitude and thought to such a degree that self-help books can only look on with envy. If you have a teenage or young adult daughter, encourage her to read this book. She will be greatly blessed for it, not only by the charming story, but quite possibly by the changes in her heart and mind that result from the good influence of Alcott's Little Women.
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I enjoyed the book. The Jo character seems to be held up as the model daughter. It makes me think Alcott put some of herself into Jo.
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one of my favorites from childhood
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This is more of a female book because it is based on girls and has girl problems. It is a heartwarming book.
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This book is a wonderful classic and a book every child should read by the time they're thirteen. This is also a good book to read out loud. Many people have been posting that they thought the book was to preachy but I love those parts because it makes the book so comfortable.
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The four March sisters—warm and fashionable Meg, literary and tomboyish Jo, frail and angelic Beth, and lovely but vain Amy—live in Civil War New England. With their father off to war, they grow and learn to be better women under the ever-patient guide of their mother’s hand. Lessons in humility, romance, friendship, loss, and joy occur to the March sisters in a variety of scenarios which have been pleasingly narrated for us by the character-writer Alcott. Never dull, and full of important morals and fun, it is no wonder that LITTLE WOMEN remains a beloved classic over a century after it was first published.
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A classic story, along the lines of "The Little House" series. Bringing up four girls with her husband in the war, money tight, Marmee doles out life wisdom and skills. The daughters learn togetherness, love, happiness and sadness. Life is what you make of it. Good Read.
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I found that this novel was overly moralistic and sickly sweet for my tastes but well written nevertheless. I can see the attraction for its target audience. Just not for me.
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I have mixed feelings about this one. I will say that I liked the book better than the movie I saw, because so many more details are given and the relationships feel more natural and realistic but I found the “moral and religious overtones” to be a bit much at times and the descriptions to sometimes go on a bit longer than they needed to (a la Nathaniel Hawthorne). As far as classics go, I much preferred Anne of Green Gables which though also descriptive, managed to do the whole moral lesson thing much better, as in, not beating you over the head with it. I think the heart of this story is excellent, which is why the movies are so good I think, but sometimes reading it felt like a chore.
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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is about four girls, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and other assorted characters. It takes place in Massachusetts during and after the Civil War. During the first part of the book, the girls' father is a chaplain in the Civil War, and it is trying for the girls. The rest of the book is basically about the girls courting and various other small adventures. As the book progresses, the girls learn lessons about life. While this book was superbly written, I prefer books where characters actually do adventurous deeds (usually involving magic) , so I only gave the book four stars because of my preferences.
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It is tough to get into it at first, because they just seem too perfect, but the book really picks up if you just keep going. I really enjoyed it, and am very glad I finally read it. This one will be staying on my bookshelf and will be read many more times!
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Great book with wonderful storytelling. Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy are vibrant, believable characters that are hard to forget.
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An endearing and heart-warming tale about growing up. A true classic that transcends time.
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I’m not going to call this a review because it’s not. If you want to read more about the book, google it. I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about what I thought of it on this go around instead. When I picked this up, I was in a slight reading slump and thought a beloved book from my childhood that I’ve always considered a comfort read would pull me out of it. By page 40, I was so annoyed with everyone --- Meg for bemoaning being poor, Jo for her hyper personality, Beth for all her goodness could only talk about being even better, Amy took me to the heights of annoyance over wanting to be so prim, proper and rich, and even dear Marmee started to rankle. They were too perfect. They were too moral. Everything was a lesson. Then something changed. It was that dear old scene where Beth befriends Mr. Laurence and when the little piano arrives, she boldly walks next door to thank him properly for the joy he’s brought her. The two become a pair content in a friendship that comes of music and Beth’s simple nature. My annoyances dropped away and once more I felt at home. It took me a minute though and even when I thought about dropping it, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to leave the story on a bad note. Sometimes when re-reading a story that is so loved, there creeps in the need to change it or to imagine it with different endings. I’ve heard others talk about wanting Jo and Laurie to get together and while I can see that as a possible ending, and at one point in my life I felt it should have been that way, I found this time that I wanted Jo and the Professor to be together instead. Yes, Jo and Laurie fit together perfectly but they are so alike that it wouldn’t feel satisfying to me now. Somehow just like Marmee said! Jo finds someone who appreciates her outbursts and willingness to learn by throwing herself so fully into things that she forgets about the world around her and there’s something lovely in that simple ending for her. She finds not only love but a partner. While I still found Jo to be my favorite, Meg and Amy left me wanting this time. They were still, I don’t know how to put this, but still too preoccupied with the thoughts of others. Amy does redeem herself but she felt small and slightly inconsequential. Her romance with Laurie isn’t so much of a romance as a settling for me and maybe that’s why years ago I felt cheated by it and wanted Laurie to be with Jo. Meg has a way of wrapping herself up so tightly in small things that she forgets there are others in her life, and when this happens in her marriage, I didn’t feel for her. It was a normal reaction and the lesson from Marmee felt more like preaching and I sort of glossed over it. Marriage is tough and Meg needed to find that out. Yes, Marmee let her but it didn’t stop any discussion of the lesson learned. Then there is the moral; make that morals. There’s a lesson to be learned by one and all every day, rich or poor. I felt preached to in the end by people better than me and that frustrated me. Not because I think I’m a bad person, I think the contrary actually, but this time it weighed heavily. It was probably my mood considering how busy life has been during the last few weeks but I was looking for comfort and I got a sermon. I don’t remember it being this way on other reads but somewhere along the way I saw it all differently. And I’m grateful for that. I appreciate being able to take a book I’ve read and loved, re-examine it and look at it from a new perspective. In some ways it became a more satisfying read this time even if I didn’t enjoy it as much. I still adore this story and nothing in the world will change that but it’s interesting to see how my current life and experiences changes my reading and memories.
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I now realized what I missed by not reading this as a girl. I loved this. Julia will adore this book and read it from cover to cover many times over he life - it is right up her alley.
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I believe I first read this as a child, but it's so much part of the American cultural heritage, it's one of those books I believed I might only thought I had read before. Who doesn't know of the the March sisters whom we first meet on Christmas Eve when they range in age from twelve to sixteen? There's the beautiful eldest daughter Meg, the tomboyish bookworm Jo, sweet Beth, and the prim and pampered Amy. Reading this novel as an adult, I found this a pleasure. I've read two main complaints in reviews. First, that the novel is unbearably moralistic and religious in tone. I didn't feel that way--and believe me I'd be sensitive to that--I'm not a believer. Yes, the March family are Christians, and take their beliefs seriously. This is a minister's household, after all. Paul Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is the girls' Christmas gift and the structure and metaphor for their growth in the first part covering a year during the American Civil War, and is alluded to throughout. But, as Jo herself puts it, I don't mind a story with a moral that makes me think, as long as it's "real, and not too preachy." I don't think it is, because the story throughout is leavened by such warmth and humor I can't find any priggishness in it. There are some things that strike me as old-fashioned, particularly when I read the story of the newly married Meg in "Domestic Experiences" or the urging of temperance, but most of the values taught, the growth in the girls, isn't just Christian but universal and timeless. Beth learns to go after what she wants and to overcome shyness. Amy that rules are made for her too and she's not everyone's spoiled pet. Jo learns it's important to reign in her temper. And Meg not to put so much store on being a fashion plate. *SPOILERS AHEAD!*The other objection I often saw was to Jo's romance with Professor Frederick Bhaer in the second part. Maybe it's just I don't think that kind of age difference is important, but I like Frederick and their relationship. He's her intellectual equal; he understands Jo, and he stretches her and accepts her in ways I doubt Laurie ever would have. Some also say how they don't care in general for how the girls are paired off and give up their dreams. Nineteenth century "domestic novel" this might be--their beloved mother herself says she'd rather see her daughters forever remain unwed than enter an unhappy marriage and when Laurie is asked if he or his wife "rules" he said they "take turns." I think real partnerships are what's stressed here, and it's not so much that dreams are given up but that they changed.I'd much rather have a young woman imbibe the values in this book than those of Meyer's vapid Twilight. All the girls here have talents, ambitions and concerns beyond attaching herself to some boy. I also loved and identified with Jo's struggles to become a writer. I had to smile at her story of how she unwisely followed the advice of all trying to please everyone and sent off her novel after it wound up "liked a picked robin" after her editing. Nor does she give up that dream for domesticality when she marries. She says in the end she "may write a good book yet...it will be all the better for such experience." *SPOILERS END*I found this a charming, fun story full of memorable scenes and lines whose appeal still endures and to me at least, doesn't seem too dated or overly sentimental.Oh, those "sensationalist" stories Jo abjures. Louisa May Alcott wrote them. I have a good friend who swears they're better than Little Women as far as she's concerned.
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When I was growing up, my sisters and I used to discuss which characters from Little Women we were most like. The book was a real comfort read -- I first read it when I was probably around ten years old, my younger sisters read it after me, and each of us has read it several times since. It is such a wonderful book -- a celebration of sisters, family, and staying close through hard times and the pains of growing up. The fact that my sisters shared an appreciation of the book and its characters made it even more meaningful.
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